Pollution

By Tom Blumer | June 20, 2010 | 10:36 AM EDT
ObamaAndSpillCommissionCoChairs0610The presidential commission tasked with investigating the BP oil spill is so short on technical expertise and packed with left-leaning politicians and knee-jerk environmentalists that even the Associated Press's resident ClimateGate apologist Seth Borenstein is concerned.

On December 12, 2009, over two weeks after the ClimateGate e-mails first appeared, Borenstein wrote that "the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions." What part of Kevin Trenberth's famous October 12, 2009 assertion that "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t" did Seth not understand?

Nonetheless, non-skeptical Seth is somewhat taken aback at the lack of expertise in the spill commission's membership:

Obama spill panel big on policy, not engineering

The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about "America's addiction to oil." One member has blogged about it regularly.

By Matt Hadro | June 17, 2010 | 6:37 PM EDT
If you take MSNBC's Luke Russert's words at face value, you would think the Democrats are going to win big this November–all thanks to Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Texas) comments on the Obama administration's treatment of BP, and their "shakedown" of the company via the escrow fund.

"A lot of Democrats see this as the ammunition they need to directly tie the Republican Party with that of big oil," Russert summarized.

Barton expressed his disapproval at the hearing for the White House's treatment of BP in forcing them to agree to the $20 billion escrow fund, calling it a "shakedown." MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer was visibly irritated during her news hour with the statement, and Russert called it a "really big blunder."

However, as NewsBusters reported, MSNBC's own Ed Schultz was ecstatic yesterday over the very actions of the White House, and spoke positively of the "shakedown."
By Ken Shepherd | June 17, 2010 | 5:12 PM EDT
In a satellite interview with Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) held shortly before 1 p.m. EDT today, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer criticized Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for denouncing the president for pushing BP to agree to a $20-billion escrow account for oil spill damages as a "shakedown":

So, there's Joe Barton calling the $20 billion in escrow a shakedown, and as you point out, there are people in your district who have lost their livelihoods! They wonder how they can feed their families!

But yesterday, Brewer's MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz used similar language to voice his giddy approval of President Obama's maneuvering :

June 17, 2010 | 3:39 PM EDT
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan on June 17 joined forces to lambaste "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough for continuing to defend President Barack Obama's handling of the BP oil spill.

Scarborough presented a litany of arguments in Obama's defense, but Giuliani and Ratigan countered with specific examples of the president's failed leadership. Regurgitating liberal talking points, Scarborough blamed the crisis on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

"We hear that we had the technology to stop this," Scarborough claimed. "In 2002, though, Dick Cheney and his energy task force said, 'No, we're not going to take an extra step.'"

Giuliani responded with an eviscerating counter punch: "It's important to know as part of the history of this but the reality is, he's been president now for 18 months. It's about time we stopped blaming Bush."
June 16, 2010 | 5:27 PM EDT
Despite widespread criticism of President Barack Obama's Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill–including flak from MSNBC's left-wing posse of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Howard Fineman–ABC's Terry Moran and George Stephanopoulos on the June 15 "Nightline" fawned over the president's speech and ignored its obvious shortcomings.

In recapping the address, Moran could not contain his adulation for Obama's ability to assert his presidential authority and inspire the nation:
  • "For the first time in the Oval Office, President Obama addressed the nation. A nation anxious and doubtful about his leadership on the environmental catastrophe that's unfolded in the Gulf for 57 days. So, the main goal tonight, show the country he's truly in charge."
  • "President Obama, who finished a two-day trip to the Gulf Coast this afternoon, clearly wanted to project power in his handling with the oil spill, and the most direct way to do that is to use the language of war of the commander-in-chief."
  • "As the cleanup efforts continue to grapple with the giant spill, residents all along the coast have grown more and more worried, more and more angry and the president spoke to that directly tonight, and he made a promise."
  • "At the end, like so many in the Oval Office before him, President Obama asked for prayers."

June 16, 2010 | 5:12 PM EDT
Plenty of prominent media figures were upset with President Obama over his substandard address to the nation last night (full text). While most are distraught, none seem to be doing what should be the essential journalistic task of the day: pointing out all of the factual misstatements the president made.

So, in absence of a serious attempt at fact-checking from the legacy media, let us undertake some of our own.

In all, the president misrepresented the federal government's--and especially his cabinet's--role in creating the conditions that led to the spill, the state of the nation's oil reserves, and his own administration's involvement with BP. Futhermore, his transition from discussing the Gulf spill to advocating "clean energy" legislation was a huge logical leap, and one that necessarily misrepresents the problems the nation faces with regard to energy.
By Ken Shepherd | June 16, 2010 | 11:26 AM EDT

"Obama Chickens Out on Energy," a disgusted Ben Adler argued to Newsweek's The Gaggle blog readers this morning.

Adler's chief complaint with last night's Oval Office address: Obama didn't call for massive tax hikes to push Americans to make more politically correct spending choices.

The Newsweek writer -- formerly a self-styled "propagandist" for the liberal Center for American Progress -- avoided the T-word until his last paragraph, but he made abundantly clear that he felt that a) American stupidity and short-sightedness was threatening to literally drown Manhattan in rising sea levels and b) Obama was not doing enough to make government force people to make better choices with their own money (emphases mine):

June 15, 2010 | 9:28 AM EDT

With the federal government - both on Capitol Hill and in the White House - beginning to take investigative and punitive action against BP (NYSE:BP), the future of the company, at least in the United States, is in peril.

On CNBC's June 14 "The Kudlow Report," John Kilduff, a CNBC contributor and the vice president of MF Global was asked by host Larry Kudlow about a potential debarment from eligibility to be awarded government contracts, which have been very lucrative for the embattled oil giant.

"John, this would effectively be debarment," Kudlow said. "This is something we talked about a week ago, and the prevailing attitude was there would not be debarment because that hardly ever happens in American commercial history. Is President Obama having this as a Sword of Damocles over BP?"

June 14, 2010 | 3:07 PM EDT
Ad hominem attacks supplanted thoughtful discussion yet again on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” On Monday, co-host Joe Scarborough chastised Republicans as “genuinely stupid” for criticizing President Barack Obama’s handling of the BP oil spill, adding that the GOP must think the American people are “dumb as hell.”

“The Republicans blaming Obama look genuinely stupid because of eight years of deregulation,” scolded Scarborough, who is developing a penchant for favoring personal attacks over rational debate.

“Is Mitt Romney suggesting he’s more hostile to the oil industry than Barack Obama?” Scarborough sardonically asked an amused Mike Allen, Politico’s chief political correspondent. “Do we want to go back and look at the money? And again, I’m not just knocking Mitt Romney, but when Republicans come out like Sarah Palin and suggest the president is too cozy with the oil industry, this suggests that they think the American people are dumb as hell.”
June 11, 2010 | 5:46 PM EDT

Reports are surfacing that BP is finally considering a suspension of its shareholder's dividend, but what could have been done differently to avert the public relations nightmare BP is facing? Two CNBC hosts had some ideas about that, and about what could have happened if BP chose not to play ball.

Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett shared their thoughts on the "Stop Trading" segment of "Street Signs" June 11. According to the "Mad Money" host, Obama could have set a foul precedent for multi-national businesses if BP (NYSE:BP) didn't agree to make some concessions on how it is handling its day-to-day operations in the wake of this ecological crisis. 

"I think that this is a, a stock that represents great value but you're dealing with the government," Cramer said. "I saw that Nancy Pelosi, she's the second most powerful person in our country, saying that they shouldn't be paying a dividend. I mean, this is one of those situations where I know, the president's approval ratings are down and what you got to do is you got to go after BP if you're the president. I'm not saying I would do it but I'm saying if I were the president of the United States, BP is public enemy number one and you're not even going to listen to what the British say. You just gotta say, ‘Guys, here's the deal, we're not, we're not going to have any dividends here. And just you know, take it or leave it, partner, because this is a company that needs U.S. ball play."

By NB Staff | June 11, 2010 | 12:50 PM EDT
If you ask the media, George W. Bush is to blame for everything from the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill to Al and Tipper Gore's broken marriage. What's more, the media are insisting, it's Democrat Hillary Clinton who deserves praise for paving the way for Republican women having success on Tuesday's primaries, not Sarah Palin.

That's just skimming the surface of the loopy stuff the liberal media have churned out recently and which NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell was brought on last night's "Hannity" to address.

Also discussed on the June 10 "Media Mash" segment, the media's sensitive treatment of disgraced columnist Helen Thomas, who abruptly "retired" following a controversy regarding her suggestion that Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to Germany and Poland [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]:

BRENT BOZELL: If I were Helen Thomas, I wonder, what is she more offended by, conservatives who call her a socialist and a radical, or her liberal friends who've all gone on national television to say she's senile? And if it is true that she is that senile, what was she doing in the White House all these years? Here's a woman who has spent decades with this anti-Semitic vicious vitriol that she spews out. And here they are all marching behind her.

June 10, 2010 | 5:21 PM EDT

We all know the BP oil spill is a huge mess. It's going to be costly to clean up - but just how much? And while some outspoken critics are calling for BP to eliminate its dividend, they probably aren't realizing the residual effects.

On the June 10 broadcast of Fox Business Network's "Bulls & Bears," Fadel Gheit, a senior analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., offered a huge estimate. But, he explained what is done is done and that going after BP with harsh penalties, as in elimination of the BP stock dividend, now will hurt a lot of American retirees.

"Couple of things - I mean, it is water under the bridge, it is over and you will have to live with it," Gheit said. "BP will have to live with it. We have to remember one thing -- BP bought 10 years ago, Amoco, Arco, a very large American corporation with a lot of people working for BP today. And the retirees are pensioners from the Amoco and Arco days. So by cutting the dividend we're penalizing completely innocent people that worked very hard for many years. And now, the dividend is the way they support themselves. So, I don't understand."